The Cambrian Golden Shield women’s soccer team is pulling out all the stops as the crew prepares to host the OCAA Championships in late October. Coach Giuseppe Politi will renew acquaintances with a pair of very familiar faces as the local ladies look to earn a trip to nationals this fall.
Already returning a very talented core from the 2016 Cambrian squad that captured bronze in Windsor, the Golden Shield have added former OUA stalwarts Gabby Conrad, Jenna Schroedeand Samantha Innocente to bolster their run for a title.
Now 26 years of age, Schroeder suited up from 2009 through to 2012 with the University of Western Mustangs, acknowledging there is some give and take in opting to utilize her final year of post-secondary eligibility at this time.
“It’s a little bit difficult coming into a new team, when they already have some chemistry and know how to play with one another,” said Schroeder, an attacking midfielder through most of her career, who might also see action at forward. “In terms of my touch, or fitness on the field, that’s stuff I haven’t lost, or at least comes back pretty quickly. Now, it’s just a matter of learning how to connect with the girls on the team.”
Schroeder was a key member of a group of 1991-born local female soccer talent that provided Politi his first crack at competitive coaching more than a decade ago, just part of the appeal in taking one last crack at provincial glory.
“Dayna (Corelli) and Giuseppe are extremely excited about the potential they have this year, maybe making it to nationals,” she said. “At Western, we never won a championship. If not now, I would never do it, so I might as well play. And I’ve played with Giuseppe since I was nine years old. I started my soccer career with him, why not finish it.”
Another local product who competed in the Ontario university ranks, Innocente played for three years with the Laurentian Voyageurs, an experience that she believes will come in quite handy as she makes a comeback to the pitch following an absence of five years.
“I think we’re going to bring a lot of composure, a lot of confidence to the team,” said Innocente. “We’re able to be a source of guidance to other players. I’ve always been technically sound and I have a really good understanding of the game.”
“Your touch on the ball, the comfort with handling it comes back pretty quickly,” she continued. “For me, at my age, it was getting myself back into game shape.” Making the commitment to return early this summer certainly helped, as Innocente resumed her off-field training, while joining Corelli and her U21 women’s team for practices as time permitted.
The first test of 2017 for the returnees and their teammates comes this Saturday, September 9th, at noon at the Cambrian field, as the Sheridan Bruins open their fall schedule opposite the Golden Shield.